Monday, August 11, 2014

Squeezing in a summer trip to Charlotte

Fam portrait downtown
I am woefully behind in writing this post since we got back from Charlotte almost two weeks ago. I have a good excuse though – in the past two weeks, I started a new job and we’ve been packing up our house as we prepare to move at the end of the month.

Before we left for Charlotte, Phil told me I had no business going on the trip since we were in the midst of so much upheaval, but I really wanted to squeeze in some family and friend time before I started my new gig, particularly since Jen has been encouraging us to come down for summer boating fun for years.

We had a great time! Our friends were so hands on with the kids, and Phil and I even had an afternoon to ourselves getting massages (!!!). Jen and I shopped for some last-minute work wardrobe finds and Dylan got to drive another boat, this time on Lake Norman.

Sienna finally warmed up to pool time
Strolling/swinging around downtown Charlotte during restaurant week
Captain Pickle with Big Tom (Jen's dad)
Touring the children's museum while mom & dad get massages
Ah, well. Back to packing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Family fun daytrip to Put-in-Bay

Lots happening with our fam this month, but we squeezed in a fun day trip to Put-in-Bay thanks to Miller Ferry. I haven't been to PIB in years and Phil had never been so it was a great chance to experience it as a foursome.

Family selfie at the Put-in-Bay Butterfly House
It's just shy of a two-hour commute for us to catch the ferry and we hopped on the noon one just minutes after getting our tickets. The kids loved riding with the cars and staked out a spot by a porthole to catch all of the action.

Best spot in the house...err ferry
Once on the island, we borrowed a four-seater golf cart from Island Bike & Cart Rental -- something I had never done before on the island. The kids had a blast "driving" and we rigged our stroller up on the back.

  • Since we were running out the clock against the nap time fairy, we stuck to just a few activities: 
  • Lunch at Mr. Ed's (Such a different experience with kids! ;) They loved the live music)
  • Fishing at the Aquatic Visitors Center where kids fish for free with poles, bait, life jackets, etc. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday during the summer)
  • The Butterfly House, which hosts 900 butterflies, including 50 different species
  • Ice cream and coffee at the Chocolate Cafe

Our first-time fisherman!
Had we had more time, we might have explored Perry's Cave or the Fort aMAZE'n maze, but we packed in what we could before taking the 4:30 p.m. ferry back. Thankfully, nap time during drive time was not a problem:

I think D's entire preschool knows that we were on an island and drove a golf cart, so the trip definitely made an impression! 

I was compensated with ferry passes and a golf cart during my trip to Put-in-Bay. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Albuquerque museum hopping

Exploring hot air balloon baskets at the International Balloon Museum
When Phil first announced that he was going to a conference in Albuquerque, I googled things to do in Albuquerque with kids and found this gem of a list. It sold me right away that we could have a fun family trip there.

I couldn't wait to check out hot air balloons inside and out at the Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum. Added bonus: the museum hosts an award-winning story time every Wednesday morning. 

The museum is a few stories high (to accommodate legit blown up hot air balloons) and the back wall is all glass and overlooks a huge field. It's a great spot to check out balloon sightings, particularly during the  annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October when more than 700 hot air balloons take to the sky. The coolest! I also loved how inexpensive museum admission is ($8 for our family).

(Clockwise: bubbles!, hands-on instruments, my chain reaction scientists, Sienna flying a plane)
During our first couple of days, we kept getting suggestions to visit the Explora! Science Center and Children's Museum. It definitely didn't disappoint. We had so much fun there that we drove to the hotel to pick up Phil after his conference sessions were over and brought him there so he could see what we did all day. 

We probably spent the most time in the front of the museum where you could build chain reaction experiments with pulleys, little balls and all kinds of other contraptions. I also love the section of the museum with instruments and sound experiments. And, older kids can ride a bike on a high wire near the museum's ceiling. 

Extra friendly geese at Tingley Beach
If we had more time, we definitely would have visited more museums, particularly those in the ABQ Bio Park, which features the zoo, aquarium and botanical garden and a fun train that takes you around to all three (extra ticket needed if you don't buy the combo pass). Because we wanted to enjoy the outdoors after Cleveland's unforgiving winter, we only visited Tingley Beach, a series of fishing/duck ponds near the Rio Grande within in the Bio Park. There's a designated kids' fishing pond, which I had to distract D from big time, and a trail along the river. 

One additional museum we visited was the Rattlesnake Museum in Old Town. Great area close to downtown that I'll talk about in my next and last ABQ post.